This is the story of my second birth. Feeling the way I felt about the [first] birth - that it was great DESPITE the OB and not because of her, I decided to go with a midwife.
I asked for some recommendations and decided to go with a two-midwife practice in Park Slope/ Williamsburg [New York City]. Their names are Joanne and Janet. While it was Joanne that eventually delivered my baby girl, Janet was just as awesome throughout and as the due date was approaching I had no real preference because both of them were so very great.
I felt the difference between a midwife and a OB in the very first visit. Their Park Slope office is in an apartment that was covered to a clinic with a comfy living room as the waiting room with toys for kids and tons of great books and videos that you could borrow.
The midwives always saw me within minutes of my appointment time (I would wait for an hour before going into the exam room with my OB and then another 30 minutes in the exam room until he would enter) and they were always calm, smiling and had a "no worry" attitude. I still did all the prenatal tests I did with the first pregnancy and it was really awesome to go through the pregnancy with a practitioner who was not looking for drama but rather a healthy birth.
I was almost two weeks past due when the midwife stripped my membranes and the next day the birth started veeeery slowly. Me and my husband met my doula friend around the hospital and I walked and walked, climbing up and down front steps of the Brooklyn Heights brownstones and eventually checked in the hospital.
The midwife asked me to bring castor oil with me if I wanted to avoid any other type of induction and so when I got there with only 2 cm and not many contractions I had to drink the yucky stuff (and it is NASTY).
The great thing about a birth with my midwife is that after checking me in, the midwife left us to our own device. It was me, my husband and my doula (who is a reflexologist) and I was able to go take a shower and work through the contractions.
The castor oil affect was very powerful and within an hour or so I had very powerful contractions that were so close to each other that I hardly was able to catch my breath between them. Within two hours I was fully dialated and it was time to rock and roll. Again, I pushed for less than 30 minutes and this time I was on all fours on the bed with my doula holding the monitor. It was so much better than lying on my back pushing upstream!
Towards the end I had to turn around and sat propped up so the monitor would get a better reading and then my daughter came out, all 8.6 pounds of her.
It was great that throughout all that time the room was dimly lit, quiet and other the nurse occasionally coming in, it was just the four of us.